Democratic activist Michael Kinslow passed away just after Christmas due to aggressive pancreatic cancer. His friends in Orange County’s Democratic Party and the OC Labor Fed have organized a memorial for him to be held Tuesday, January 6. An alert was sent to thousands of Democrats throughout Orange County, but the organizers — we’re told someone from the DPOC central committee and the OC Labor Fed — commited a terrible faux pas. They failed to include Kinslow’s family in the memorial’s planning process nor was the family invited to the event. When someone you care about passes, that person’s spouse (or parent, or child) should have the final say on anything planned for their memory.
The DPOC leadership had nothing to do with the memorial which was planned by the OC Labor Fed. OCLF asked that the DPOC include details about the service to its email list; the DPOC had planned to send a brief notice of Kinslow’s passing. So if there’s any anger here, direct it at the OCLF.
In the initial email announcing the memorial, Kinslow’s home address was shared so friends could send flowers, cards, or gifts of food customary when someone passes on. But this was done without the conset of Kinslow’s wife, Georgie, without regard that someone would be available to received said items. We’re told she is quite upset about the slight and the planned memorial organized without her input or knowledge.
This memorial shouldn’t be a political event, but a rather human one. But someone within the DPOC’s central committee and someone in the OC Labor Fed should be ashamed that Kinslow’s family wasn’t included (or invited) to a public memorial.
Hand it to Georgie Kinslow to right the ship and respond with dignity and class. She asked the DPOC to send this message to the thousands of recipients on the DPOC’s Constant Contact database:
To:The Orange County Democratic Community
From:Georgina Kinslow ~ (email address redacted)
RE:Remembrance for Michael Kinslow
I want to thank each and every one of you who have reached out to Michael and me over these past few weeks and months as we embarked on what was to become our last journey together. It ended entirely too soon, and we were not able to check off all the boxes, but our journey was full of blessings and many silver linings for which we are eternally grateful. Many of you played a part in making that possible, so thank you. Michael prayed regularly that he might have a “good death.” Rest assured that in his final moments, Michael was surrounded by his family, and he went bravely and peacefully to join his father and brother in Heaven while I cradled him in my arms… just as he prayed.
I have received several phone calls and messages inquiring about the upcoming Remembrance the DPOC has scheduled for January 6th. While we appreciate, deeply, the DPOC’s desire to hold a Remembrance for Michael, I do need to clarify that this event was planned and scheduled without inclusion from our family. Nor were we included on the e-mail recipient list. Therefore, none of us will be able to attend. But I do encourage all of you to attend in Michael’s honor ~ laugh, cry and reflect on the lasting role he played in the causes near and dear to his heart, many of which you all shared. Celebrate him well, as he would have wanted. One of the issues that he felt so strongly about was Immigration Reform. I can tell you it was with great pride and joy that he watched the President’s Immigration Action Address on November 21st from his room at the hospital. Afterward, Michael became sad thinking that he would not be able to see it through to the end, but I reminded him that he was there to plant the seeds, cultivate the soil and tend to its roots as the movement grew from the ground up… and therefore his efforts would have a lasting impact. He really liked that imagery.
The Remembrance Announcement which was disseminated requested that cards and condolences be sent to me at our home… but Michael and I had another wish. We would ask that in lieu of flowers, cards and condolences, please consider making a donation in Michael’s Honor or Memory to the following charitable organization as part of their “Cure PC” campaign (see below). We felt strongly about this due, in part, because Pancreatic Cancer is currently the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States, and is one of the nation’s deadliest cancers with a five-year relative survival rate of just 6 percent. Sadly, an estimated 73 percent of patients will die in the first year of diagnosis. Michael was told that with treatment he could have up to a year. He desperately wanted his year… he fought valiantly for that year… he boldly took the most aggressive form of chemotherapy available in order to help give him that year. And despite that battle, our Celtic Crusader had only a few short months.
The Lustgarten Foundation
1111 Stewart Avenue, Bethpage, New York 11714
Toll Free: 1-866-789-1000 P: 516-803-2304 F: 516-803-2303
There will be a Memorial for Michael in accordance with his hands-on planning (yes, even in illness he had his hands in everything he could!). This private Memorial will take place the weekend of January 17-18, and will be by invitation only due to space limitations. Because of that, I take great comfort in the fact that all of you will be able to celebrate Michael’s life at the Remembrance on the 6th, and hopefully continue to be inspired to share in his activism and his pursuits of social justice. I pray you will find closure and peace (as I do) in the fact that he is not only with his Heavenly Father, but now he is also reunited with the father and brother he lost in early childhood, whom he yearned for his entire life. For fifteen years he was my best friend, my great love and my fierce warrior… So now it’s his turn to rest in power, love and peace while the rest of us take care of the garden. Until we meet again, my beloved Anam Cara… it truly was more than enough.
I’m told some members of the DPOC Central Committee received phone calls suggesting that a candidate for election to the Central Committee was one of my sources on this story. This is a lie designed to encourage a “no” vote in the election tonight. I was tipped off to this by more than two sources so don’t be swayed by a phone call from someone using this story to smear a candidate they don’t like for tonight’s race.